O the Clear Moment
By Ed McClanahan
Short Story Collection
In this short and quick read, Ed McClanahan shares some of his favorite coming-of-age moments (true or fiction? I was never quite certain). From puppy love to iconic foundations to best frenemies (before the term was even coined), McClanahan delivers a witty and fun view of "how things were". The author also never hesitates to throw in a shameless, shameless plug of his novel "The Natural Man", which is mentioned on numerous occasions in this 183-page collection of short stories. If it wasn't so completely amusing, I would have been irritated by the repeated mention of the novel, but McClanahan keeps it so lighthearted that you can't help but chuckle a little at his audacity.
One of my favorite bits in the collection was "Great Moments in Sports", a story about the author as a youngster vying for the attention of a fair lady by lobbing a hand-grenade of an egg at some rival lads. The ensuing splatter of sticky egginess was deserving of it's own story, even if it didn't quite result in the hoped-for admiration of the lady in question. Another great story was "Dog Loves Ellie", about a man in his late 50s who attends a class reunion and sadly attempts to woo his high school love in a profound state of drunkenness, and the author (and hero of the story) coming to the rescue of the said high school love who also happened to be somewhat of a secret crush of the past for the hero.
I definitely love a good coming-of-age story, and there were definitely some chuckle-worthy moments here, but the shameless pluggery of the author's novel knocked it down a notch on the loveability factor. I would recommend this for a quick read only if you have nothing better to do.